When Quincy Patterson committed to Virginia Tech, he promised to be the future of the program. A prospective engineering student and Elite 11 quarterback, it seemed like a match made in heaven. But three years later, with a crowded QB room and no direct path to playing time, Patterson made the move to Fargo, leaving Hokie fans to wonder what could’ve been.
#— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) August 27, 2021
QB1 has been named for the 2021 season. #GoBison pic.twitter.com/BbQ6OLqRxK
Last year’s quarterback depth chart was stacked. Hendon Hooker was the incumbent, having taken the job and ran with it last year—though it felt like the staff never fully trusted him throwing the football. Braxton Burmeister had just sat out 2019 after a denied transfer waiver, and likely would’ve pushed to start had he been eligible last year—but his on-field track record was severely lacking. Then there was Patterson, the hero in our 6 OT win over UNC, who showed how far he still had to go in a winnable game vs. Notre Dame the following week. All three were close in age, and only one would become the face of the program.
Burmeister won that battle, by default really—he was just the last man standing. Hooker transferred to Tennessee and is competing for that starting job, though he doesn’t seem to be the favorite. We were all sad to see him go, but the writing had been on the wall for a while. The coaches never gave him the full vote of confidence as the starter, and after an inconsistent 2020 season, it was probably time for both sides to make a change. Patterson is the biggest “What if?” though—he possessed a rare combination of arm talent and physicality. In an ideal world, he was the perfect Justin Fuente quarterback—big arm to zip passes on the RPO, with the speed and size to run the QB dive up the middle.
Patterson was also the rawest, and when you have a logjam at QB, the guys who can play right now always have the advantage. Looking back on it, as soon as Burmeister committed to VT, I knew someone was going to transfer. That’s not to say Braxton was a bad addition—he outplayed the other QBs last year, and will likely be the face of the program for the next two seasons—but taking another QB on the transfer market, the same age as Hooker and only one year older than Patterson was poor roster management. Common sense would say you only make moves like that if you have no confidence in what you have.
But that’s easy for me to say—ultimately, you just want as many good players as possible on your team, and transfers are a huge part of the landscape now. Maybe we shouldn’t be as in our feelings about these departures, and maybe there’s no one to blame. Sometimes, things don’t work out, but that’s okay. We should be happy for Quincy—he found the best place for himself and earned a starting job. In an ideal world, QP, Burmeister, and Hooker (should he win the starting job) all lead their teams to success this year. Ultimately, you just want the kids to do well, so cheers to all three of them.
But what do you think? Have we mismanaged the roster in recent years? Let me know in the comments.